Faze Clan with NEO: Another Shot at Glory

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Faze Clan recently announced the replacement of AdreN with NEO on their CS: GO roster. AdreN was the In-Game Leader for the team since January 2019 after Karrigan’s departure from the roster. The addition was a trial in an attempt to see if it would improve the dismal results by the star-studded team. With poor performances in the Major and other LAN events, it is no surprise to see Adren’s trial period come to an end on Faze Clan.

The hope with AdreN’s trial on Faze Clan was the addition of a supportive In-Game leader. Unfortunately for Faze Clan, this move did not pan out as expected. Faze Clan’s results over the past few months, after adding AdreN were nowhere near their expectations. They did win the Blast Pro Series Miami 2019, but with the Best of One Format, it is not a credible result for any top tier team. The team’s results saw multiple Group stage exits and poor performances. The pressure on the players was increasing by the day and we now have NEO added to the CS: GO roster.

Faze Clan's tournament performance since January 2019.
Faze Clan’s performance since adding AdreN. Image Credit: Liquipedia

In an interview with HLTV, Niko mentions that their disappointing performance at Starseries & I-League Season 7. When asked for the reason for the poor performance he had no clue and that speaks volumes regarding the team’s state of mind. Despite having some very talented players and some of the biggest names in Counter-Strike, Faze Clan continues to fail to perform at the level expected of such a roster.

I don’t know, we had a good feeling, we had a good preparation, it’s just the way we played, we made so many individual mistakes, it felt like it was not us playing, I have no idea why that happened, maybe it’s because we feel the pressure of going out in groups… it’s hard to say, it was just not us playing against North, which you all could see.

Niko to HLTV

AdreN: A Controversial Pick-Up

AdreN playing on LAN for Faze Clan.
AdreN was a surprise pick-up for Faze Clan, but they failed to produce results. Image Credit: Liquipedia

Faze Clan’s announcement that they would be adding AdreN to their roster as the In-Game Leader was a surprise at the time. AdreN is a veteran in Counter-Strike, but he has mostly limited himself to playing amongst CIS teams. His most successful period in Counter-Strike was during Gambit’s surprise Major Victory at PGL Krakow 2017. However, there was nothing to suggest that AdreN could possibly lead a mixed European team such as Faze Clan. The unique and skill-based playstyle of Faze is also not suited for Adren’s vision of the game. We have not seen his former teams rely more on skill and talent than strategy and synergy.

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Faze Clan is unique in CS: GO in the way their players adapt to the game. With some of the biggest names in Counter-Strike, Faze Clan has lacked In-Game Leader who commands the respect of these players. AdreN was simply not the player for this purpose, his lack of big results as a player definitely hurt his position in the players’ eyes.

I can’t say too much, but we don’t have too many options, we can’t just go out there and just pick up a player, there are not that many options that are going to fit our team, there are not many in-game leaders out there we can get. Out of the ones we wanted to get, some of them refused, some of them we can’t get because of buyouts, and stuff like that.

Niko to HLTV

When Faze Clan announced AdreN’s addition, it did raise a few eyebrows, but Niko’s HLTV interview sheds some light on the decision. He mentions that there were not many options available for a team such as Faze Clan to select an In-Game Leader.

What Does NEO Bring to the Table?


NEO practicing on his PC
NEO is known for his unique leadership managing extremely skilled players.

NEO has years of experience in leading and playing alongside a bunch of talented individuals. His time on Virtus Pro has seen ups and downs but more importantly, he led Virtus Pro to one of their most successful periods in CS: GO. However, the NEO that led VP to IEM Katowice 2014 is quite different from the one at present. He was also a part of the team as they slipped out of the Top 20 rankings in CS: GO.

Despite his failures in the recent past, NEO does bring a lot to the table. His addition to the team is primarily as an In-Game Leader and as a support player. He might not be the star fragger on the roster, but frankly, Faze does not need much more in terms of firepower. They need someone to handle the tactical aspect of the game so that the players can focus on their individual game and hope to get some form back.

NEO Can Lead Faze Clan to Success ( Conditions Apply)

An image of NEO playing on LAN.
NEO needs to work with YNK to improve the results for Faze Clan

There is little doubt that Faze Clan is a team that can be successful if the players start hitting their shots However, it is easier said than done and many of the Faze members are nowhere near their peak performance. It is not surprising to see these players miss some easy shots and then dig themselves deeper into a disadvantage.

The likes of Guardian and Olofmeister, while still very talented are not at their peak performance. They do not command the same impact as their name once did in the past years of CSGO. NEO’s addition to the team will bring about a structure and semblance to the team’s performance.

I still think we can win against any team here and make it to the final, not easily, but I believe that we are still capable of making deep runs at events, and that’s our goal for this event.

Niko to HLTV

Despite adding NEO, it does seem that Faze Clan will move forward with a two leadership system within the roster. Niko has been theIn-Game leader for some time now and he can take assume a leadership role within the game for some time. We don’t know how the players will ultimately decide on the In-Game Leadership role, however, it will hopefully be better than it was in the past.

The thing is, this team needs a second in-game leader, it needs two guys calling all the time. We have players who don’t take too much initiative, so you have to push them, you have to tell them what to do, how to react in the game.

Niko to HLTV

So while NEO joins the team and will work with Janko “YNk” Paunović ( Faze coach ) for the broad perspective strategies, Niko might continue his role at shot-calling in certain regions of the map. This divides the responsibilities within the team and Niko will possibly act as the second In-Game leader.

Faze Clan Is the Only Top Team Which Can Emulate the ‘Virtus Plow’

An Image of Virtus Pro celebrating their victory at IEM Katowice 2014
IEM Katowice 2014 Champions – Virtus Pro

NEO’s experience in Global Offensive primarily revolves around his time with Virtus Pro. The fan favourite team saw many ups and downs and were extremely inconsistent at times. However, when they had good results, the playstyle was a treat to watch.

Niko thinking hard at LAN.
Niko has handled the IGL responsibility for Faze Clan since Karrigan’s departure. Image Credit: Rivalry.gg

Virtus Pro was never the team with a heavy focus on tactics and strategy. They had a very loose playstyle which was governed by a very broad and effective gameplan. It allowed individual players the freedom to make moves all around the map. Their insane skill ensured that they can win the aim-duels and secure the advantage for the team.  At the same time, the players also had their tasks cut out for them thanks to NEO and Kuben. If everything failed, the team could still rely on their game plan and focus on winning the round. These tactics did not always conform to the norms at the time. Virtus Pro was often able to surprise their opponents and take advantage of the same to win the round.

When Virtus Pro had a good run, fans nicknamed it as Virtus Plow. Alternatively, when Virtus Pro would surprisingly lose to lesser teams, fans called them Virtus Throw.  It is this team (Virtus Plow) that we want to see with the current Faze Clan roster. It is not impossible, especially with NEO leading the team as their In-Game Leader.

NEO Commands the Respect of the Faze Members

NEO in his Virtus Pro Jersey.
NEO has had a long and illustrious career in Counter-Strike Global Offensive

AdreN’s addition to the Faze Clan roster was a surprise because no one expected him to be able to lead Faze Clan. The team has some of the biggest names in Counter-Strike with dozens of trophies for each player. Their years of experience of being at the very top would require a decorated and respected individual to be able to lead them.

Somehow AdreN never felt the right choice to become this individual. While he is a veteran in his own right and has years of experience, he does not have the same results to show for himself. His addition to the team ( on trial ) was a hit and miss attempt by Faze Clan. Needless to say, it missed the mark entirely.

Niko, Faze Clan
Niko of Faze Clan. Image Credit: Liquipedia

As we look to the future, a future with NEO at the helm, the players at Faze Clan definitely seem to respect him for his achievements. NEO is one of the most high-profile players in Counter-Strike Global Offensive. His time on Virtus Pro made him a fan-favourite and he helped the team achieve new heights of success. His position on Faze Clan will see him catering to the egos and established playstyles of some very successful players. He can manage these players due to their respect for him as an individual and a player.

Providing Direction to a Team with Talent: NEO’s Speciality

NEO’s time on Virtus Pro saw him efficiently manoeuvre the team around its various shortcomings. The Virtus Pro team remained a strong contender on the International scene for a very long time. Their playstyle was not overly dependent on strategy, but they had the raw skill necessary to make their plays work.

Some of their playstyles involved making unexpected contact plays on the bomb sites. It can be a risky affair, but the skilled players manage to secure the advantage. Virtus Pro was not afraid to play aggressive against top tier teams. Their aggression and the extremely high skill on their players saw some amazing shots in their prime.

The Faze Clan roster is very similar to the former VP roster composition under NEO. The players have the talent and skill, their playstyle involves individuals performances as against a loose strategic overview. Faze Clan, unfortunately, is also quite susceptible to inconsistent performances. NEO needs to find the strengths for this roster and firmly improve the advantages for the team.

A Supportive IGL: Frees up Niko for Frags

For quite some time, Niko has been the In-Game Leader for the team. He has taken on the responsibility of leading the team for the greater good. However, as is the case with many In-Game Leaders, they start losing much of their fragging power after the additional burden of being the In-Game Leader. It is their job to properly manage the players’ movement. They decide the next course of action based on actionable intelligence from their teammates. They are responsible not just for their performance, but the team’s results as well.

Niko is one of the best players in the world based on pure skill. In fact, many consider him to be the second best player in the world behind S1mple of Team Na’Vi. However, after taking on IGL responsibilities, there was a noticeable dip in his individual performance. From August 2018 till the end of the year, Niko’s performance saw a significant dip. This was the time when he was the In-Game Leader for Faze Clan.

A graph showing Niko's performance in the last few months.
Niko’s performance Graph for the past three months. One day Increments. Image Credit: Liquipedia

In the new Faze Clan, we hope to see Niko start to perform up to his former standards. In the few months since AdreN took up the IGL responsibilities on the team, Niko’s performance has definitely improved. There is obviously a direct relationship with him being the In-Game Leader and his form which can be seen from the two graphs from HLTV.

Niko has seen a signficant uptick in his individual performance after AdreN joined their roster.
Niko’s performance since AdreN joined the team. Image Credit: HLTV.org

With NEO leading the team and NIKO beginning to bring up the big numbers for the roster, the future does look bright for Faze Clan. They need to figure out how to manage the roster and urge the players to take more initiatives. 

The Addition of NEO Adds Potential to Faze Clan’s Potential Placements

NEO is a player who has many things going for him as the In-Game Leader of Faze Clan. The player has proved himself to be an adept leader with Virtus Pro. Virtus Pro had a playstyle quite similar to that of Faze Clan does right now. 

Whether he is able to help Faze move out of their current rut is something that only time will tell. For now, NEO needs to work in tandem with YNK and Niko to possibly help Faze win more tournaments. 

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